Mozilla

Email Call to Action

July 25th, 2007

Do you think email is important part of Internet life? Are you interested in seeing something interesting and exciting happen in the mail space? Believe that Thunderbird provides a much-needed option for open source email alternatives and want to see it get more attention on its own? Long to see something more innovative than Thunderbird in the mail space happen?

So does Mozilla.

Are you someone who could contribute to such an effort? Do you have expertise and a desire to be involved in an innovative mail effort and/or a focused Thunderbird effort? If so, Mozilla would like to hear from you.

Thunderbird

Mozilla has been supporting Thunderbird as a product since the beginning of the Foundation. The result is a good, solid product that provides an open alternative for desktop mail. However, the Thunderbird effort is dwarfed by the enormous energy and community focused on the web, Firefox and the ecosystem around it. As a result, Mozilla doesn’t focus on Thunderbird as much as we do browsing and Firefox and we don’t expect this to change in the foreseeable future. We are convinced that our current focus — delivering the web, mostly through browsing and related services — is the correct priority. At the same time, the Thunderbird team is extremely dedicated and competent, and we all want to see them do as much as possible with Thunderbird.

We have concluded that we should find a new, separate organizational setting for Thunderbird; one that allows the Thunderbird community to determine its own destiny.

Mozilla is exploring the options for an organization specifically focused on serving Thunderbird users. A separate organization focused on Thunderbird will both be able to move independently and will need to do so to deepen community and user involvement. We’re not yet sure what this organization will look like. We’ve thought about a few different options. I’ve described them below. If you’ve got a different idea please let us know.

Option 1: Create a new non-profit organization analogous to the Mozilla Foundation — a Thunderbird foundation. If it turns out Thunderbird generates a revenue model from the product as Firefox does, then a Thunderbird foundation could follow the Mozilla Foundation model and create a subsidiary.

This model probably offers the maximum independence for Thunderbird. But it is also the most organizationally complex. There is lots of overhead to create a new foundation, find good board members, recreate the administrative load. When we started the Mozilla Foundation Mitch Kapor, our-then business development lead and I spent a bunch of time on this work. The current Thunderbird developers don’t have this level of business assistance. If there is revenue that requires a subsidiary then the overhead goes up even further. There is serious concern that this will detract from serving Thunderbird users, since the core Thunderbird team is small and developer-focused.

Option 2: Create a new subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation for Thunderbird. This has less overhead, although it still requires a new company that serves the mission of the Mozilla Foundation. In this case the Mozilla Foundation board and personnel would remain involved in Thunderbird. Thunderbird would continue to need to be balanced and prioritized with Mozilla’s focus on delivering the web through Firefox, its ecosystem and the Open Web as the platform. The Thunderbird effort may therefore still end up with less focus and less flexibility.

Option 3: Thunderbird is released as a community project much like SeaMonkey, and a small independent services and consulting company is formed by the Thunderbird developers to continue development and care for Thunderbird users. Many open source projects use this model, it could be simpler and more effective than a Mozilla Foundation subsidiary. However, creating this as a non-profit would be extremely difficult. Running a services company as an independent taxable company is the simplest operational answer. We would need to figure out how such a company relates to the Thunderbird product itself. What’s the best way for such a company to release a product? How does that relate to the community project that stays within Mozilla?

We don’t know the best answer yet. And we don’t expect to without a broad public discussion and involvement, which we hope this message will trigger. Today someone suggested to me that perhaps there is another foundation that might be a good home for Thunderbird. I hadn’t thought of this; it’s a creative idea.

If you’ve got thoughts or — even better — want to get involved, please let us know. Some suggestions for making sure Mozilla is aware of your comments are at the end of this post.

Broader Mail Initiative

We would also like to find contributors committed to creating and implementing a new vision of mail. We would like to have a roadmap that brings wild innovation, increasing richness and fundamental improvements to mail. And equally importantly, we would like to find people with relevant expertise who would join with Mozilla to make something happen.

If we can see a path to an innovative mail initiative in addition to supporting existing Thunderbird users, then we are interested in doing so. If we find the best way to improve mail is incremental development of Thunderbird as already planned, then we’ve learned something extremely valuable as well.

Mozilla has a range of resources — funds, code, etc. — that can be applied to this problem. We’re looking for people with expertise, vision and leadership capabilities. If you are such a person, or know of such people, please let us know.

Discussion

If you’re interested in these topics, let us know. The web is great at distributed discussions, let’s see what we think about mail. I’ll moderate comments and trackbacks here quickly. If you want to make absolutely sure that Mozilla can find your thoughts easily, feel free to leave a pointer to them here. There’s also a page for each discussion on the Mozillla wiki, although they require you to log-in to edit. So if you have a Mozilla wiki account or are willing to create one, you can find these pages at the locations below. Go to the “Discussion” tab at the top to add your thoughts or pointers back to your posts.

Thunderbird
Mail Initiative

188 comments for “Email Call to Action”

  1. 1

    Alex Graveley said on July 30th, 2007 at 10:44 am:

    This has been a long time coming.

    Follow Option #3:
    Set the ‘bird free and see where it goes.
    Galvanize the Mozilla messaging exclusively around Firefox.

  2. 2

    suseconfig said on July 30th, 2007 at 11:27 am:

    Back in 2004/2005, it was Firefox who convinced me that I had to ditch Windows 2000 in favour of Linux and open source. Without the Firefox experience, I should never have even contemplated trying out Thunderbird. I find it hard to believe that Thunderbird could cause a user to try out Firefox since Firefox has 10 or 20 times as many users as Thunderbird. And I don’t understand why a desktop e-mail client nowadays would be a necessary companion to a web browser which predominantly is an access point to any webbased app, not just to webbased mail services.

  3. 3

    fpiera said on July 30th, 2007 at 12:23 pm:

    I have been using thunderbird since the early versions and always had a useful por and smtp email client. Far more easy and useful than outlook. I hate webmail, I prefer pop and smtp as I like to store in my own facilities my own mail, and with thunderbird I can access my different mail accounts simultaneously from anyware when carrying my own pc.
    If thunderbird is dropped I will have to look for another email client, or go back to Eudora or Pegasus. I have a gmail account which I use via pop also without problems. One thing is a enterprise minded business and another the private user. If Mozzilla foundations drops thunderbird, they will be dropping a lot of private users.

  4. 4

    Nat said on July 30th, 2007 at 12:44 pm:

    I put my thoughts over at http://pseudoweb.net/crypts/2007/07/70/. but to quickly summarize, Thunderbird needs to split off into it’s own foundation, Firefox’s shadow is swallowing Thunderbird, denying it room to grow.

  5. 5

    OSZine said on July 30th, 2007 at 1:24 pm:

    Mozilla Thunderbird sucht neues zu Hause

    Die Mozilla Foundation arbeitet derzeit ausgiebig am Webbrowser Firefox und dessen Weiterentwicklung. Das hat zur Folge, dass laut Meinung der Stiftung nicht genügend Ressourcen für den EMail-Klienten Thunderbird existieren. Daher hat Mozilla nun 3 Vors

  6. 6

    Eugene Tucker said on July 30th, 2007 at 1:53 pm:

    Many of us got sold on Firefox and Thunderbird as a package. I think that Mozilla should stay the course. But other than that I guess option 1 or 2.

  7. 7

    Open Source Applications Foundation Blog said on July 30th, 2007 at 4:37 pm:

    Mozilla’s call for a new vision of email

    Mitchell Baker started a conversation about the future of email at Mozilla, looking for people to participate in “a new vision of mail”. OSAF should be engaging in this conversation, looking for ways to collaborate with Mozilla.

    We’v…

  8. 8

    Letnix said on July 30th, 2007 at 5:32 pm:

    Mitchell Baker, how much money get you from Google for killing TB??

  9. 9

    Elaine said on July 31st, 2007 at 4:52 am:

    Don’t know about Outlook but I’ve just switched four computers from Windows Mail (the Vista mail product) because of Windows Mail’s ridiculous solution for multiple email address access – no more easy switching identities with Vista.

    Firefox handles this without breaking a sweat. I see complaints about Vista’s solution all over the net. Seems to me Firefox should expliot this opportunity.

    Elaine

    Oh yeah, I’d love an integrated calendar function too.

  10. 10

    suseconfig said on July 31st, 2007 at 5:17 am:

    In accordance with my previous postings, I would vote for option 3.

  11. 11

    Thomas said on July 31st, 2007 at 9:29 am:

    Figures. I’ve been worried this day would come sine the great Firefox push started.

    We has a great product in NS Communicator, created when the browser added an email tool (instead of a stand-alone, text app). Mozilla only exists because Netscape decide to get community help in the major rewrite the suite needed. Anyone else remember the early milestones builds (M8 was always a favorite of mine)

    I though Firefox was an interesting, but misguided idea at the time. Always thought the XULrunner idea was the way to go. A core Mozilla library, and a browser, mail, irc, calendar client built using it. They were all linked by the core library, and shared configuration, but would have been separable is needed.

    No mozilla has really returned to it roots. I mean Netscape Navigator 1.0, back before Communicator, mail, news or calendar.

    Maybe someone will build a GUI e-mail app that is as useful as PINE was in the text only days. Basically TB without the browser baggage. Until then I’ll see where TB and SeaMonkey go (not that SM has made much headway since it formed).

  12. 12

    Myra said on July 31st, 2007 at 10:00 am:

    I’ve read all the reasons and the responses. I’ve used Firefox (0.7) and Thunderbird (I can’t remember) since the early versions. The main appeal was getting away from IE and Outlook, which I despise. I had already swithced to Eudora, but the appeal of both products coming from a unified base was great.

    I’m an independent consultant who does “Enterprise” work without an “Enterprise” base to work from, so I would be labeled as a “private user”. I would like to address some of the comments from above.

    1. Web mail just doesn’t cut it.

    2. Not everyone enjoys the luxury of living where a “Broadband” connection is available and anyone who uses satellite will tell you “it’s okay if there is nothing else”. I can assure you “no one” has any intention of getting true broadband to us where we live and we’re only two miles outside the city limits, but in a totally rural area.

    3. Some of us curmudgeons still prefer to have our apps on our machines and there are still a lot of us out there. We pay our bills on line, shop on line, get our news on line and in general have adopted the digital lifestyle with ease and great zeal, but still prefer certain things on our machines.

    I understand the business end and maximizing resources, I’m and independent business person who deals with that fact everyday, but giving your users/customers what they want and need should also be a priority. The last part of that line could be construed either way but I was referring to a unified web solution.

    I think the Thunderbird developers have done an excellent job and should be lauded for their continuing efforts I think it would be a huge mistake for Mozilla to divide the two solutions thus forcing many “private users” to go elsewhere in search of a unified solution.

    The old adage of “divide and conquer” may be at work here. Maybe the Mozilla foundation should look at where the advice and pressure is coming from to drop Thunderbird, Maybe someone is out to slow down the juggernaut that has been created.

  13. 13

    Manish Chakravarty said on July 31st, 2007 at 11:24 am:

    This is certainly sad news :(

    I am a heavy user of Thunderbird on Solaris Express (at home) and on Ubuntu (Office )

    I love it’s cross platform capabilites.
    I already share my inbox across Ubuntu and OpenSolaris by putting it on a common fat partition.

    I’m sure I could share with Windows as well.

    Cross-platform support is one of thunderbird’s biggest USP’s

    I’ll have no choice but to switch to Evolution if they stop developing T-bird.

    I wonder if the Mozilla guys could completely open source the developement of T-bird if they dont want to develop on it and simply provide the infrastructure.

    After all Firefox and Thundberbird are both going to become XULRunner based apps. May be i am just thinking aloud there..

  14. 14

    knotty said on July 31st, 2007 at 11:49 am:

    http://wiki.mozilla.org/Penelope

    Seems Mozilla is taking over Eudora as open source?

  15. 15

    Katie Capps Parlante said on July 31st, 2007 at 3:39 pm:

    The trackback ping didn’t seem to work, but I posted over at the Chandler project blog that we’re interested in finding a way to collaborate.
    http://blog.chandlerproject.org/2007/07/30/mozillas-call-for-a-new-vision-of-email/

    Also, Mimi, our designer, has posted some thoughts about email in the context of the “email is soooo dead” idea. (Rumors of its death greatly exaggerated?)
    http://blog.chandlerproject.org/2007/07/31/the-future-of-email-depends-on-what-you-mean-by-email/

  16. 16

    Asa Dotzler said on July 31st, 2007 at 10:31 pm:

    “I wonder if the Mozilla guys could completely open source the developement of T-bird if they dont want to develop on it and simply provide the infrastructure.”

    I’m not sure what you mean by “completely open source the development”. Do you mean let any random person have access to change the code? If not, then it’s already completely open sourced.

    There will definitely be infrastructure to support the continued development of Thunderbird. That is not in question.

    – A

  17. 17

    Fernando Cassia said on July 31st, 2007 at 11:29 pm:

    I jokingly started referring to Mozilla as the “Mozarella Foundation” after they cheesy decision to drop Mozilla Suite support (only to later resume lukewarm support towards the SeaMonkey council).

    And now they kill Thunderbird, great!.

    I can only say that there’a future, and it’s called SeaMonkey.

    An integrated e-mail client and web browser is just the killer application. Back when Mozilla was <1.0 and not stable, people complained about “the web browser going down and taking e-mail with it” but this isn’t so anymore that SeaMonkey is rock solid.

    With SeaMonkey moving to the latest Gecko engine and Cairo, it will continue being the most powerful way to do your web browsing, GMail AND old fashioned POP3/IMAP email, for power users. Of course, despite the press general disregard and ignorance of SeaMonkey due to the evergrowing Firefox hype.

    So, farewell thunderbird!. It was a solution looking for a problem. Who does need a separate email client, and at the same time no integrated browser?.

    Just my $0.02…

  18. 18

    suseconfig said on August 1st, 2007 at 12:45 am:

    Eventually, the software industry, commercial companies as well as open source companies like Mozilla Corporation, cannot support the development of both desktop apps and webbased counterparts. Such a duplicated development effort is too expensive and too time consuming in the long run. For that very reason, the software industry is forced to develop their apps for the majority, i.e. for the users of webbased apps.
    By the way, you don’t need a broadband connection to access webbased apps, you only need any internet connection.

  19. 19

    suseconfig said on August 1st, 2007 at 12:59 am:

    It seems to me that the majority of the angry Thunderbird users on this blog
    a) will not pay for Thunderbird
    b) demands that Thunderbird be part of the Mozilla product line going forward
    c) despises the notion of a separate development organization for Thunderbird (option 3)
    d) don’t want to use webbased apps in general or don’t want to use webmail services in particular, for reasons not clearly stated
    e) will not or cannot take part in the development of Thunderbird

  20. 20

    suseconfig said on August 1st, 2007 at 9:01 am:

    Many of the disappointed Thunderbird users have emphatically stated on this blog that Mozilla Corporation forces the Thunderbird users to go elsewhere in search of a unified solution (i.e. web browser and desktop e-mail client). I don’t quite understand the reasoning. The Thunderbird users are free to use Firefox in conjunction with Thunderbird even if the development of Thunderbird continues outside Mozilla Corporation. If a truely unified solution is required, then go for Seamonkey! As I have said earlier, the very notion of an intimate connexion between a web browser and a desktop e-mail client is severely outdated, as a web browser nowadays acts as an access point to any webbased service. Many people use their web browser to access online banking services but that doesn’t entail that a home banking app is a necessary companion to a web browser. Instead of bashing Mozilla Corporation for the decision to separate the development of Firefox and Thunderbird, it would be appropriate for all the angry Thunderbird curmudgeons with outdated software perceptions to offer their support, going forward, to the two lead developers of Thunderbird. Mind you, I use several desktop apps and a lot of command line apps, but I don’t frown on the rise of webbased services.

  21. 21

    Ooga Chaka said on August 1st, 2007 at 9:20 am:

    I thought the future XULRunnerize everything? If XULRunner is so good then why let a very capable and useful example of a XULRunner app disappear?

    What TBird has that rox:

    – support for standards esp. IMAP!
    – excellent ID and multi-account managment
    – tagging (needs UI improvements but it rox – integrate it with GMail labels :-)
    – super speedy search for local (and IMAP) mail

    What TBird has that less rox:

    – certificate import for SSL enabled sites has borked strings and the workflow is confusing. It works really well though once you figure it out!
    – Clunky UI … should be more like the browser Ctrl-K focuses me in the search/filter dropdown but I can’t tell which filter I’m using !! (Subject, Sender or Subject, To: CC: etc) make it work more like the firefox search engine where there’s a visual cue about the search engine – or in this case the filter.

    What TBird could have that would make it rox more:

    – Even better search

    – Timeline like UI for mail history (e.g. think what the flickr picassa f-spot UIs do for photo management)

    – take an approach a bit like tinymail … dissect TBird into libraries that can be useful elsewhere … think of TBird as opportunity to support lemonade and mobile IMAP extensions! Work with Google to make that happen! (and get google to offer IMAP for paying customers of GMail).

    – Team up with some MTA spamfiltering and account access projects (I know this already happening but) so that Thunderbird ROX their worlds too …
    eg: dovecot and cyrus IMAP, dbmail.org, qmail/maildir support of course 😉 heheh, TBird plugins for email list management, TBird interface to tinymail .. run it on my phone please!

    Also … since evolution is sort of under the control of Novell perhaps some other Linux distro suppliers (Redhat, Mandriva); or big universities that prefer TBird to Outlook on windows (there are some – they are mostly in Europe); or generous individual users can supply needed cash to keep it going or get it going as a separate project of mozilla.org

    Where Thunderbird can get dollar$ to make it keep on roxing :-)

    – ad revenue (old fashioned opera browser style)

    – 10$ donation per download :-)

    – 10$ perseat per year supported version

    – 10$ perseat per year (5$ per seat over 100 users) supported version complete with a 2500$ full end-to-end email solution (postfix/dovecot or qmail based) that is an alternative to GMail or MS-Exchange selfhosted, or partnering with google for percentage of fees on a “hosted in partnership” version with Google’s GMail domains, or a version that supplies virtual mail hosting domains via mozillamail.org (easy to do with postfix, qmail, dovecot, or dbmail.org) for up to 100 users for 50$ a month.

    – or ALL of the above 😉

    BUT the question remains and Mitchell should answer it: what does all this mean for XULRunner … if apps based on XUL all take on separate “foundation” status who controls XULRunner?

  22. 22

    Larry Gerard said on August 1st, 2007 at 11:05 am:

    My view is simplistic.
    I started with netscape in the 90’s – it was my browser and email client. It worked well for my needs which is sending email to the membership of a private club. When netscape discontinued support for email I was quite disappointed.
    6 months ago I downloaded and starting using firefox and thunderbird once again I was a fairly happy camper. I believe that Mozilla should continue to develop thunderbird, market it and find a way to have it pay for itself. It has great potential and I will be sorry if it leaves the Mozilla umbrella.

  23. 23

    Rakshat said on August 1st, 2007 at 11:05 am:

    This is a repost from my comment on Scott MacGregor’s blog. Just thought that I should also share my thoughts as a long time user and supporter (i.e. a consumer not a developer) of both Firefox and TB with MoFo/MoCo people who read this blog.

    I am a home user of Thunderbird (pulling my Google mail into the client) and am very happy with the product. Please let me know where I may donate money as a thank you to the developers/contributors/community that made thunderbird possible and to encourage further work on this remarkable product.

    This is going to be a bit disjointed but I would welcome your ideas on the following – A lot of us did contribute and raise over $250,000 for the Firefox NYT advertisement. If we were able to raise a similar amount would it be possible for development to continue on TB for about 6 months (along with the cvs/bugzilla/irc/hosting support that Mozilla will continue to provide. The six months should be enough to once again revitalise community volunteer developers, testers/bug reporters and spreaders around TB.

    There are a few people out there who like TB. Infact when version one of Firefox was being launched and Spreadfirefox had just been operationalized there were a lot of people who felt that TB should get equal marketing push (and for sometime around TB version 1 release it did get some push) Anyway form the launch of version 1 and especially after the NYT advertisement Mozilla actively encouraged users (old and new) to spread firefox. Across the world people evangalised for Firefox as it was a great (if not the best – opera and safari fans do contest this from time to time. I like Firefox more) browser and it was open. I still remember the Firefox 1 party, which I held at my house in Delhi on 20th November 2004 (I think a few days after FF 1 was released)I still think that Firefox is a great product and continue to spread it at every possible opportunity. Sometime after the NYT advertisement MoCo was formed in order to meet tax regulations (MoFo was never able to give the final breakup of the NYT ad collection spending though I personally asked Asa on two occasions via sfx) As time passed after this the focus moved to FF and TB took a back seat. The understanding or rationale I gave myself (I may have been wrong as this was never explicitly mentioned by MoFo/MoCo) was that as FF was easier to showcase, the competing dominant product was clearly inferior and it would be easier to switch users to firefox. At a later stage the high adoption percentages and hype around firefox would be used by MoFo and MoCo to push TB (around version 3 or around the now time). Instead one gets a mozillaZine headline

  24. 24

    Asa Dotzler said on August 2nd, 2007 at 12:00 am:

    Ooga, you said “BUT the question remains and Mitchell should answer it: what does all this mean for XULRunner … if apps based on XUL all take on separate “foundation” status who controls XULRunner?”

    The answer to that question is pretty simple. The people who “control” XULRunner are the people building XULRunner. You can learn more about what they’re up to at the mozpad site http://mozpad.org/doku.php

    – A

  25. 25

    Angelo Rossi said on August 3rd, 2007 at 8:36 am:

    I’m a postmaster with almost 2000 mailboxes to keep. Good part of my customers are using Thunderbird, and IMHO it’s the only good alternative to Outlook. Some of them also switched from Win to Linux, with some year of email, just with a copy and paste. Please, continue the support of this fantastic program.

  26. 26

    Miriam said on August 3rd, 2007 at 2:17 pm:

    Hello Mitchell
    I’m a happy user of the team firefox/thunderbird, and I’ve put my gmail accont into it.
    I will avoid, as long as I can, to use gmail on line services (or any other alike) to recive my mail
    It seems to me that the decition to give away thunderbird it’s wrong. You should keep developing thunderbird. there may be obstacles, but don’t you know that IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING?.
    Miriam G L

  27. 27

    Lawrence Salberg said on August 4th, 2007 at 2:30 pm:

    Why do ANYTHING? I’ve already written on my personal blog about how great Thunderbird is. Just be patient. Promote it better. Is there some great feature missing in Thunderbird? I realize it might need to be updated or bug-fixed as time goes on, but I hardly think it needs its own project. That’s just reshuffling for the sake of reshuffling. Tbird’s biggest chance for success, however you define it, is on the coattails of Firefox, which hasn’t exactly “won” the browser war… yet.

    Hang tight and keep promoting. And be a bit more aggressive for crying out loud. (i.e. “Outlook costs $99. Thunderbird is free… and better”). Simple tag lines. Did I say “promote”. I’ve installed Tbird on at least 3 clients machines who were using toys (Outlook Express, etc) and they had, of course, never heard of it. Go after Microsoft on this. I’m hardly a Microsoft hater (far from it – I actually like Bill Gates), but NOW is the time to strike with the product you ALREADY have.

    What’s all this nonsense about shifting, creating non-profits, blah, blah…. you are starting to sound like Microsoft. There are far too many meetings and bureaucrats over there. Don’t worry so much about revenue quite yet. If anything, commit to bug fixes for the next 18 months, and delay any new features. Let’s see what shakes out.

  28. 28

    Dan Thies said on August 6th, 2007 at 8:18 am:

    Thunderbird is a decent email client. But that’s all it is.

    I used to use Thunderbird… then I went through the enormously painful and time consuming process of migrating back to Outlook.

    Why did I stop using T-bird? Outlook is better, guys… and it’s only a hundred bucks – less if you need to Office suite anyway.

    Why better? Well, Outlook has so many very helpful features, such as:
    – Tagging emails by category (and I can make my own, which was not possible in Tbird)
    – Flagging emails for follow-up – which works with the calendar
    – Outlook actually has a calendar, not a hack-extension that lets me open a calendar, a real calendar that’s part of the application
    – Outlook users can send me appointment requests that I can accept in Outlook, or stare at and wonder what they are in T-bird
    – Drag and drop: emails into a todo list, emails or todos onto the calendar, etc.

    (Those things, plus there were some emails that I simply could NOT delete in T-bird without hacking into the mailbox files.)

    What would get me to go through the enormously painful and time-consuming process of switching back to Thunderbird?

    1) Recognize that being “just an email client” isn’t good enough any more – watch how people use Outlook & Google
    2) Recognize that M$ apps define some standards and that even though the world shouldn’t work that way it does – interoperability matters
    3) Make the migration easy instead of a huge pain in the butt.
    4) Take some of the email tricks that GMail does and Outlook doesn’t do – like tagging emails in multiple categories
    5) Give me a fast search function – INDEX the emails. Outlook only gives you this if you install the bloated “Desktop Search” tool, which indexes every damn thing you have and will eat most of the space on a typical laptop drive.
    6) How about some kind of web-sync or remote email capability?

    At this point I’m far more likely to “dump Outlook” for GMail and the rest of the Google suite – because they let me get to everything via the web. Google Calendar, BTW, does at least sort of work with Outlook. 😀

    $99 vs. Free is not a good reason for me to give up several hours a month (minimum) in productivity. It’s not even worth it for a minimum-wage worker. If all you have to sell is “price” you’re screwed.

  29. 29

    Ilgaz said on August 11th, 2007 at 5:07 am:

    It is considerably funny that people who believes in open source development and open standards which would naturally result in complete protection of privacy also loves Gmail for some reason.

    Gmail is the largest breach of privacy since first generation of spyware. They keep your mail, analyse your mail and advertise using your private mail data.

    I was never a great fan of Mozilla project but the recent progress and some shadowy decisions like these makes me question what kind of “good” Mozilla offers over MS IE.

    One is bound to MSN/Microsoft and other is bound to Google. Where is the difference? If you are that bound to Google, why still beg for Donation from good willing people who thinks they are supporting open future?

    Apple Safari is used as a weapon in their hands to force people to upgrade their already working operating systems but I don’t see they put “Donate to Webkit” buttons all over the place.

    If you give up actual mail technologies like IMAP for some Webmail which doesn’t give a heck to your privacy and your client vendor does some tricks to force you to that technology, would it matter if it is open source or not?

    Tell us when are you putting “Click here for mail” link pointing people to Gmail on Firefox.

    With recent developments in scene and everyone having good bandwidth, especially with introduction of 3G technologies, real mail isn’t going anywhere. Just check around, how many Blackberries you see?

    If you take this decision and couple of years later you whine about how evil that MS Outlook/Lotus duopoly is, we will make people remember it.

    Last word: You should notify Qualcomm about your Gmail support plans so a great mail client which is use in REAL corporate World would continue its development instead of becoming a “theme” on an abandoned non serious mail client.

  30. 30

    Philip said on August 15th, 2007 at 2:03 pm:

    Do thunderbird users stick with the same computer for the rest of their natural lives? I try to import my email from one machine to the other, but there is no obvious way to import thiunderbird datafiles from one machine to another. Maybe I should see if OE can do this?

  31. 31

    Kelv said on August 16th, 2007 at 12:03 pm:

    You can use Firefox at home and in the office. For Thunderbird to be accepted in the office, the groupware situation HAS to be sorted out. Until the Mozilla foundation wakes up to this and pays some attention to Lightning / Sunbird, they are never going to get anywhere.

    I tried very hard to standardise a medium sized business on Thunderbird / IMAP and as great as the e-mail part of it was, the various departments asked for on a frequent basis was the calendar / tasks / meetings functionality. In came a new manager who saw this deficiency, and what did he do? Wiped the whole lot out with Outlook and Exchange.

    Now someone will no doubt chime in to tell me “Oh but TB was never a business class app, and is meant for home e-mail”. Business is where the investment and community are. Business needs are what pushes Linux kernel development and so many other aspects of OSS.

    I have actively participated with feedback / bugzilla and in Q&A sessions for Lightning and the pathetic resources pooled to Clint and the team is so obvious. Help them get the groupware aspect sorted asap, get in bed with the Funambol project for your synchronisation with mobile devices, help the caldav server developers out, etc and you will have your community, your investment and success.

    By all means ignore this, and turn off the light while you’re at it. Messing around splitting TB up from the well known FF / Moz brand when you should be focusing on the calendaring/tasks/meetings/etc is idiotic. You may as well as Google to PR0 it.

  32. 32

    Paul said on August 17th, 2007 at 5:21 am:

    I use Thunderbird at home and at work. I don’t use Outlook at work like all the other folks. The reasons I use Thunderbird and not Outlook are:

    – I’m more productive with its UI than I am with Outlook.
    – I like the unlimited tags and saved searches
    – I use secure pop connections so I can use popfile.sourceforge.net which is by far the best email categorizer/spam detecter I’ve seen.
    – I feel more secure from viruses when using Thunderbird as compared to Outlook.

    I use Thunderbird over Gmail because:

    – I prefer the UI
    – I occasionally have to send encrypted/signed emails between email accounts and I can do that easily with Thunderbird and haven’t figured out how to do that with GMail.

  33. 33

    Waiter said on August 23rd, 2007 at 7:34 am:

    The obvious is often starring us in the face.

    If Thunderbird had tons of users, then Mozilla would have no problems with keeping it going.

    Why then — and here’s the obvious thing, at least to those who know marketing principles — why hasn’t Mozilla displayed the Thunderbird download button on the same page as the Firefox download page.

    Duhhhh. When the people come to get Firefox, they’ll see Thunderbird, and out of curioisity many will download it.

    It’s called leverage. Co-branding.

    So obvious.

    Right now, the Thunderbird download page is hidden away, requiring the users to click the PRODUCTS page to find out. Most people are not curious, and won’t click the PRODUCTS link.

    People in Mozilla live in an ivory tower inhabited by techies. They think everyone knows about Thunderbird, but aren’t using it. No, most people don’t know about Thunderbird.

    Geez. I get so frustrated. Why not try the obvious. It can’t hurt. Put the Thunderbird download button on the same page as Firefox.

    Look, don’t kill off our Thunderbird program, before you’ve at least tried the obvious.

    And, admit it, spinning off Thunderbird into a separate organization will kill it off, because you’ll have lost the chance to leverage off the massive Firefox user base.

    Please, at least try the obvious.

  34. 34

    Neil Stansbury said on August 31st, 2007 at 4:23 pm:

    After all the pain the Mozilla “organisation” has gone through over the years it would be such a shame to appear to have not learnt from it’s titan achievements.

    There is no real difference between Firefox and TB, they are just different ways of displaying web data, XUL + RDF + XML + SOAP + HTTP + FTP + IMAP are just ways of representing XML over an open standards connection.

    Don’t get caught up in it’s an email vs web thing – it’s not – it’s all just XML data, and somewhere in the not to distant future it will all begin to align, and the varous Mozilla technologies are the perfect place for them to meet.

    Yes TB is dire, but why should my calendar and email be in a different app to my web browser? Why should I care that one is XHTML and another MIME? Why is it all not just web data? If Web 2.0 is about anything more than marketing BS it’s about destroying data silos.

    If TB can generate a revenue, then fine let it, but if you want both TB and Firefox to have a longterm future, then they are fundimentally intertwined – one feeding from the other, stop thinking web vs email and starting leveraging this spectacular platform.

  35. 35

    John Degen said on September 4th, 2007 at 4:01 am:

    I think email is moving towards the Web. Many people use Gmail, Hotmail etc. exclusively. Some of these webclients (Yahoo) are already pretty advanced. Might this not be a golden opportunity for Mozilla to develop the ultimate webmail client?

    I’m thinking of an clean and fast interface which uses hotkeys, advanced filtering, plenty of storage, embedded chat client, features for mobile phones/SMS, the works.

  36. 36

    Greg said on September 6th, 2007 at 9:56 am:

    This strikes me as just pie-in-the-sky BS, if you want to innovate start your own project.

    At work I’m stuck with an exchange server. For my personal email, I run my own server. I use thunderbird (IMAP and SSL) inside my network, and when I’m away from home I use the squirrelmail web-client (also IMAP and SSL). I do this is because you have to install thunderbird, which I can’t always do.

    The only good idea here is adding new kinds of indexing, data collecting and searches to thunderbird (like the CD spending example).

    The idea expressed here forgets that anykind of web-email depends on someone hosting huge email servers somewhere. Are you wanting to provide an out of the box hotmail or yahoo service? Do you think hotmail or yahoo or anybody else will start using it? There are already tons of web-clients (like squirrelmail) try improving them instead.

    If you want to go out and make an “exciting” software web service company out of email don’t hide behind open source get your own venture capital.

    I think the mozilla foundation should exist for more than just Firefox. In stead of always factionalizing and duplicating efforts, we should build instituions that can grow and survive.

    If most of the “buzz” is about firefox (right now, might not be that way 2 years from now), then it can help support other projects inside Mozilla. I still don’t use firefox because it’s klunky and limited. I use the latest version of what the foundation is named after.

    I think companys would free their old, no-longer profitable code as long as there is an organization to take it over, not just throw it away without any hope of anything coming of it. All of this old code might not live on as seperate, resurected products, but its code can be known, learned from, and provide prior art to protect free software from software patents.

  37. 37

    aadutoy said on September 18th, 2007 at 12:18 am:

    http://reddit.com/user/Adult-Toy/
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  38. 38

    Pod said on September 18th, 2007 at 12:42 pm:

    I thought that the success of firefox would be used to finance other development projects such as Sunbird and Thunderbird. But apparently the success of Firefox kills the success of the other projects. That is insane and stupid Management.

    Sunbird is the Thunderbird blocker in the enterprise market. Thunderbird plus Sunbird plus a groupware server (kolab etc.) has the potential to kill the Exchange platform, a giant market.

    The problem of Open Source is that you need some investment and critical mass to take off. Firefox got the investment.

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